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Sunday, 16 February, 2003, 17:55 GMT
What's the story, Berti?
Christian Dailly gets to grips with Clinton Morrison
Scotland were shambolic against the Irish

Two steps forward, one step back. I don't know the exact choreography of the Irish Jig but our friends from across the water sure did lead us a merry dance at Hampden.

Now Scotland's progress is slow, slow, quick, quick, slow - but mainly slow - under Berti Vogts.

It wasn't good against the Irish.

Woeful defending, shocking goalkeeping and pretty average play elsewhere added up to a performance which dismantled all the positive thinking which emerged from the victory against Iceland.

Hopefully, it is just a little swerve on the long road back and not a total head-on crash.

If Vogts takes us to Portugal 2004 via a play-off then it will matter not at all that we cannot win friendly matches.

But we would be ill advised to ignore the warning signs.

What is important is that we learn from what goes wrong in friendlies and I hope that the national coach knows his own mind better than I can understand it.

Much of what went on at Hampden is confusing.

The goalkeeping situation for example. What was all that about?

In the wake of the Paul Gallagher affair with Ian McCall at Tannadice, the Dundee United goalie nevertheless arrived to meet up with the Scotland squad with a fine performance in the Tayside derby under his belt, despite the national boss being concerned about his lack of games.

In fact he only missed two and came on as sub in one of those.

Meanwhile, he selected Neil Sullivan who last played for Spurs when Danny Blanchflower was in his prime.

Steven Thompson in action with Gary Breen
Why did Steven Thompson play?
I'll be honest, I'm not the greatest fan of Sullivan, mostly based on the fact that I don't recall him ever making one outstanding save for Scotland and any faint admiration that I might have had disappeared with the loss of the second goal against the Irish.

Frankly, he shouldn't be in, because we have better.

> For me I would rather see Alan Main in the squad. But Gallagher should have played the full game.

And why was Steven Thompson included in the second half? He will be suspended for the Iceland game and surely Kenny Miller should have been given a run.

Clearly Berti has an agenda which is beyond my line of vision and if indeed we take full points against Iceland and Lithuania and therefore carry one merrily down the road to Portugal then he will have a full apology - in writing.

The 90 minutes against Ireland were a clear reminder that we are far from out the mire and that might well be the case in more ways than one.

The mud-bath which doubles as a pitch was more suitable for the planting of King Edwards than the playing of international football.

That Queen's Park toil weekly - and weakly - upon it, is bad enough, but it is beyond belief that we are about to allow the Claymores, purveyors of the nonsense that is American Football, to perform upon it.

What place does that sport have in Scotland, never mind on the surface of our national stadium? They must be banished immediately.

And yet even then it might be too late to produce a surface fit to entertain the Icelanders next month.

I would urge the SFA now to consider switching the tie to Celtic Park where the grass is plentiful, the ground is flat and the atmosphere intimidating for visiting teams.

Or else that Irish Jig might be followed by the last waltz...

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